Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Happy Hour of the week: Throwing it back at the Volstead Act

Posted By on Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 1:19 PM

The historic front page of the American Issue can be seen on a far wall in the Volstead. - MEG MACLEAN
  • Meg Maclean
  • The historic front page of the American Issue can be seen on a far wall in the Volstead.

It was a Monday night, so naturally a couple people in suits stopped by after work as I walked in with a camera and a notepad, not knowing what to expect. Bars can sometimes be too loud to enjoy the drink you just got from your overwhelmed bartender. As a college student, I am accustomed to two extremes of social outings: loud, rambunctious bars and quiet, chill coffee shops. It's hard to find a situation where these vibes cross paths. I found it at the Volstead Act.

Get your Happy Hour fix and a little burst of vitamin C with the AP Squared cocktail. - MEG MACLEAN
  • Meg Maclean
  • Get your Happy Hour fix and a little burst of vitamin C with the AP Squared cocktail.
The Volstead has been open since September of 2013, and is now one of Spokane's many craft cocktail bars. The venue is on the small side with a vast expanse of liquor on display. But with classic high bar stools and wooden tables with candles, it's versatile and strikes a balance between a quiet venue to have a drink after a long day, and a poppin' place for a couple friends to share a cocktail.

Named after and inspired by the 1919 Volstead Act, which lead to the 18th amendment prohibiting alcohol, the place is dedicated to recreating the lavish and hand-crafted cocktails that were popular during the Roaring 20s, but they give them a modern twist. 

Their signature drink, according to the bartender, is an AP Squared (Aperol, orchard apricot liqueur, grapefruit, Champagne and grapefruit peel), made with hand-squeezed juices. That, or a Thyme's They Are 'A-Changin' (gin, yellow chartreuse, simple syrup, lemon juice, thyme, soda water and lemon peel). Sounds like  a revamped Gin Rickey right out of the Great Gatsby era, doesn't it? 

In addition to a wide selection of libations and crafted concoctions, the Volstead offers what one might consider "upscale" truffle popcorn to compliment whatever spirit you choose.

Volstead's Happy Hour runs every Monday-Saturday, 3-7 pm, with $5 wells and house wines and $3 draft beers and bottles, in addition to $7 craft cocktails. It also extends late-night from midnight-2am, with $3 domestic drafts, $4 Fireball and $5 wells. And what else? All day on Sundays.

To find other great Happy Hour deals and menus around the Inland Northwest, visit on your phone and download our Drinkspotter app, or click here.
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Monday, February 29, 2016

Some fave photos from the first days of Inlander Restaurant Week 2016

Posted By on Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 3:57 PM

You might have noticed a larger than normal crowd at your favorite restaurant this weekend. Inlander Restaurant Week kicked off on Friday, and judging by the social media buzz, there are a LOT of people out there enjoying the festivities. 

If you've been out of town or living under a rock or something, you can find all manner of stories and information about this year's Inlander Restaurant Week on our regular Inlander website. And you can find all the menus for the restaurants right here so you can plan your own excursion before the last day on Sunday, March 6. 

If you're the type to post pictures of your food — and let's face it, many of us are — be sure to drop a #InlanderRW hashtag so we can see your photography, and add a #IRWRaveReviews tag on your Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to generate a donation for Second Harvest every time you do so. 

Here are a few Instagram photos from the first few days of Inlander Restaurant Week:

The Boiler Room by Instagram user @misstifftigress
  • The Boiler Room by Instagram user @misstifftigress

Dessert at Browne's Tavern by Instagram user f_b_madrid
  • Dessert at Browne's Tavern by Instagram user f_b_madrid

Gilded Unicorn by Instagram user @thetolczyk
  • Gilded Unicorn by Instagram user @thetolczyk

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Happy Hour of the week: Soothing sounds at Garageland

Posted By on Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 3:30 PM

The old fridge holds frosty treats. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • The old fridge holds frosty treats.

JJ Wandler knows that music counts for a lot in a bar or dining experience. A place that doesn't pay attention to the sound floating through the airwaves could lose customers. I know I've vowed to never return to a place after having Bon Jovi spoil what was otherwise a perfectly fine outing. 

Wandler, co-owner of Garageland, has personally curated a playlist of 8,000 or so songs to provide the soundtrack for visitors to the bar/restaurant/record store/thrift shop, and that playlist makes Garageland the kind of place where it's easy to hunker down for a drink or two. The tunes don't pump so loud they drown out conversation, but they hit on old favorites enough to enhance a beer or one of Garageland's craft cocktails named for classic punk tunes (try the Blank Generation and thank me later). More than once on a recent Happy Hour trip I stopped mid-conversation to zone in on the subtle sounds: "Hey, the Stones' 'Rocks Off! Cool!" or "Hmm, is that the Jesus and Mary Chain? Love it." 

Combine the tunes with ever-changing original artwork, the funky everyday decor like the static-y TV set and old fridges holding cans of brew and the chance to do a little vinyl or clothes shopping and you have a Happy Hour unlike any other in town. 

Garageland's Happy Hour is $1 off every alcoholic beverage and goes from 4-6 pm every Monday-Friday and all day on Sundays. Additionally, Monday is half-off the bar's considerable selection of absinthe, including two made right here in Washington, Pacifique and Marteau. In the next few weeks, Wandler says they'll be adding some Happy Hour food items, with discount prices on burgers, salads and fries alongside the drinks. Stay tuned for that. 

To learn more about Happy Hours around the Inland Northwest, visit on your phone and download our Drinkspotter app, or  simply visit this page
The bar holds a little something for everyone, from a large absinthe selection to select bourbons and a few  locally made spirits. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • The bar holds a little something for everyone, from a large absinthe selection to select bourbons and a few locally made spirits.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Come watch Chef with local chefs Wednesday for Suds and Cinema

Posted By on Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 1:50 PM


To get you hungry and ramped up for Inlander Restaurant Week, which begins on Friday, we're turning our Suds and Cinema series into a hunger-inducing, beer-sipping (or chugging, if that's more your speed) celebration at the Overbluff Cellars Events Center in the Washington Cracker Building tomorrow (Wednesday) night.

We'll be showing Chef, an indie gem directed by and starring Jon Favreau about a celebrity chef who leaves life in a restaurant to start his own gourmet food truck. We'll also have a panel discussion featuring Chef Jeremy Hansen of Sante, Chef Travis Dickinson from Clover and Greg Brandt, the co-owner and co-brewer of Iron Goat Brewing, whose beer is also featured at the event in 22-ounce bottles.

Also, we have a food truck, Tacos el Sol, to tie into the movie and Horizon Credit Union will be on hand giving out $5 vouchers to the truck for some lucky attendees. And for dessert, Brain Freeze Creamery, a familiar face at past Suds and Cinema, will be scooping up the cold stuff.

We open doors and begin serving beer at 6:30 pm and the panel discussion begins at 7:30 pm, with the movie to follow immediately after. Overbluff Cellars Event Center is located at 304 W. Pacific Avenue, in the space that houses the annual Terrain event. Here is additional event info.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Spokane Chef Adam Hegsted a finalist for the 2016 James Beard Award

Posted By on Wed, Feb 17, 2016 at 2:06 PM

Spokane's flourishing food scene is grabbing some deserved national attention again.


This time, Inland Northwest chef and restaurant owner Adam Hegsted — chef-owner of The Wandering Table and The Gilded Unicorn in Spokane, and The Cellar in Coeur d'Alene — has been named a semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard Best Chef Award.

Hegsted is a semifinalist for the Northwest region, which lists a total of 20 chefs mostly from Seattle and Portland.

James Beard Awards are a big deal for those in the food and hospitality industry. Semifinalists are chosen from a pool of more than 20,000 nominees from across the country — landing a James Beard Award means you're one of the best chefs in the nation. 

Spokane's culinary creatives are no stranger to this accolade, as last year we also saw Sante Restaurant & Charcuterie and Common Crumb Chef Jeremy Hansen named a semifinalist.

This year's awards are to be presented during the 2016 James Beard Awards Gala in Chicago, on May 2. But first, we'll be rooting for Hegsted to be named a finalist in an announcement about a month from now, on March 15.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Three Top Chefs add star power to Spokane’s Ruins

Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 10:06 AM

Tony Brown, of Ruins
  • Tony Brown, of Ruins

On an average night, Ruins is one of Spokane’s most interesting and innovative restaurants in the region, led by chef and owner Tony Brown’s ever-changing small-plates menu. In a relatively unremarkable building on North Monroe Street, just around the corner from the county jail, Brown has created a restaurant where other chefs come to while away an hour after their shifts and delight in well-prepared food. And that’s just on an average night.

Last night at Ruins wasn’t average.

Brown had help in his tiny kitchen.
From left: Kwame Onwuachi, Chad White and Phillip Frankland Lee at Ruins
  • From left: Kwame Onwuachi, Chad White and Phillip Frankland Lee at Ruins
 For one, there was Chad White, Spokane-born owner of restaurants in San Diego and Tijuana, who was just recently eliminated from the current season of Bravo TV’s Top Chef and is in the process of opening a place here. And there were two of White’s friends, also competing on Top Chef: Phillip Frankland Lee and Kwame Onwuachi, who flew into Spokane hours before dinner service to help in the special, multi-course meal inspired by Mexican street food.

The dishes were playful and tasty, beginning with Chef Phillip’s mussel and tequila shot seen below. (He brought ingredients with him, but TSA security got to them first.)
The first course, by Phillip
  • The first course, by Phillip

Not working but eating last night were two of the Inland Northwest’s best-known chefs: Jeremy Hansen of Sante, who previously collaborated with White; and David Blaine of Central Food. (Random recommendations: Try Sante’s wine-paired tasting menu and Central Food’s bibimbap.)

Besides the tasty food and expertly crafted cocktails, something else became very clear last night: Spokane’s chef culture is growing, and rather than see each other as competitors, local chefs are working together, supportively, to create new and interesting things. In March, for example, Hansen is organizing Chef’s Week. And later this month, there’s Inlander Restaurant Week, featuring 100 restaurants all doing special three-course meals.

On average, it's a very good time to eat!
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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Inlander Restaurant Week 2016 menus are live!

Posted By on Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 8:02 AM

Shrimp and scallop gnocci is on the IRW menu at Scratch. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Shrimp and scallop gnocci is on the IRW menu at Scratch.

The table is set and open for reservations.

As of today, all of the three-course menus featured at Inlander Restaurant Week's 104 participating restaurants — the fourth-annual culinary event is set for Feb. 26 through March 6 — are now live online.

From fresh sushi in Coeur d'Alene to Italian fare in Browne's Addition, Restaurant Week offers flavors to suit any taste, occasion and budget. The online menu database allows users to browse alphabetically, or search by price (the fixed-price menu options are $19 or $29 per person), cuisine style and location. While you're browsing, look for the Drink Local symbols noted on each menu, indicating the variety of locally made spirits, beer, cider, wine and coffee offered at many of the IRW eateries.

There are still several weeks before the event kicks off, but start thinking now about when, where and what other special events you might want to tie in with your restaurant experience. Weekend dining during Restaurant Week is especially likely to be busy, so calling ahead to save your place at the table (on any night) is not a bad idea. After all, you don't want to miss out on sampling the menus at the top of your IRW 2016 "bucket list." 

Also, don't forget to grab the Feb. 25 issue of the Inlander, which includes a comprehensive guide to Restaurant Week 2016 — as well as printed versions of the menus — including interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, a list of all places new to IRW, and menu highlights that intrigued us.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Spokane's Top Chef contestant Chad White is eliminated

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 11:39 AM


Local boy Chad White has been blazing through Bravo's Top Chef, earning a spot in the top 10. Last night, however, his run ended when judges took exception with the daintiness of his dish — micro greens on seared tuna — for what was supposed to be a gluttonous beefsteak event where food is consumed in large quantities without utensils. See his offending dish below.

As regular Top Chef viewers know, his exit brought him to the Last Chance Kitchen, where he went head to head with a previously eliminated contestant for chance at winning a place back in the competition. As luck would have it, White would face another Washingtonian: Seattle's Jason Stratton. Watch them battle it out below.

It doesn't go White's way, but fear not: White, who owns restaurants in San Diego and Tijuana, is back in Spokane and is looking to start his latest venture: Native Post and Provisions, featuring the flavors of the Inland Northwest. In the meantime, he's teaming up with local chefs for special one-off events, including next week's sold-out dinner at Ruins in Spokane.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

No-Li launches new LocALE beer, LocALE neighborhoods iniative

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 4:01 PM


Three cheers for local beer, food and community!

This year, Spokane's internationally-recognized No-Li Brewhouse is kicking off a new event that features various neighborhoods in Spokane, one each month for the remainder of 2016.

Every Monday throughout the month, LocALE at No-Li highlights a Spokane neighborhood through its staff donating and volunteering their time within the 'hood, as well as selling collectible, branded pint glasses unique to each neighborhood.

For years, No-Li has consistently worked with community businesses and nonprofits to raise awareness of their missions, and to donate time and money to various causes in the region. Previously partnering with organizations such as SpokAnimal and Toys for Tots, No-Li created LocALE to further integrate the "community fabric" into its work.

"The Spokane community is a fabric of local neighborhoods that add character and a sense of being real and grounded," No-Li owner John Bryant says in a press release. "We look forward to celebrating the individuality and specialness of our community, one Spokane neighborhood at a time."

LocALE is scheduled to kick off at the brewery (1003 E. Trent Ave) on Feb. 1, from 5-8 pm, during which they'll release the first of the 11 collectible neighborhood pint glasses.

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Several one-time, local chef dinners are coming up — make reservations soon

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 1:00 PM

We're obviously super excited about the fourth annual Inlander Restaurant Week coming up in exactly a month — happening for 10 days from Feb. 26 through March 6 — but there are many special culinary events to look forward to in the meantime. (Also, don't forget that Restaurant Week menus are being released online next week, on Thursday, Feb. 4).

Special one-time and occasional chef dinners aren't a new trend, but of late we've definitely noticed more of these intimate events happening across the region. Since most have limited seating and feature a special menu offered that night only, making reservations is required. This means knowing about an event ahead of time is important, as many sell out early.

Here's the latest round-up of one-time chef dinners happening in the coming weeks that we've heard of:

Cellar Supper Club Wine Dinner — Chef Adam Hegsted
The Coeur d'Alene restaurant was purchased more than a year ago by acclaimed local chef Adam Hegsted, and occasionally hosts exclusive wine dinners, including this Friday's event (Jan. 29, at 6 pm) which is limited to only 10 guests. The $125 ticket price (including tax/tip) includes a seven-course dinner, which includes highlights such as foie gras, braised lamb, poached oysters and smoked duck. Each course is paired with wine from Europe or Washington state.

The scene at the Ivory Table's monthly supper club dinner last December. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • The scene at the Ivory Table's monthly supper club dinner last December.

The Ivory Table's Supper Club — Chef Kristen White
This monthly event at the French-inspired cafe on East Sprague features a four-course dinner created by Chef/owner Kristen Ward. (Read more about the dinners in this Inlander feature from December.) Held monthly on the first Friday, February's dinner (Feb. 5, 6 pm) is Spanish-inspired and includes wine pairings selected by Pomum Cellars' winemaker Javier Alfonso. There are only 30 spots available at these dinners, which are $65/person not including wine pairings (an additional $25/person). 

If you can't make it to the Friday night dinner, or if it sells out (which happens each month) there's also a special Valentine's weekend dinner offering five courses served by candlelight, set for Sunday, Feb. 14, at 6 pm. Dinner and wine pairings are the same price as the monthly Supper Club dinner.

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